A day after the Ekiti State Governor alleged that Senate President Bukola Saraki was being blackmailed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the proposed $30 billion loan, Mr. Saraki has responded.
The Senate President is a general response advised politicians not to trivialise a “serious national issue.”
Mr. Fayose claimed that the president was using Mr. Saraki’s corruption trial at the Code of Conduct to blackmail the senate president into supporting the loan request by the executive.
The Ekiti Governor in a statement by his spokesperson on Wednesday advised Mr. Saraki and the Senate to remain firm and reject the loan request despite meetings between Mr. Buhari and the Mr. Saraki.
On Thursday, in his response, the senate president advised politicians to stop peddling speculations about his recent visits to the presidency.
The statement by Mr. Saraki’s Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in Abuja on Thursday said that politicians were linking the visits to President Muhammadu Buhari’s yet-to-be-approved $29.9 billion foreign loan request.
“In all his recent meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the issue of the proposed loan never came up for discussion,” the statement said.
It, therefore, said that the comments by some politicians on the loan issue, without any factual basis, were “unfortunate.”
“Like I once told the media, these politically-motivated commentaries are trivialising a serious national issue.
“They are presenting it as if it is a personal matter that can be decided at meetings between Saraki and Buhari.
“The National Assembly which I head as Senate President has taken a position on the issue as required of it by the laws of the land and legislative conventions,’’ the statement quoted Mr. Saraki as saying.
Mr. Saraki was also quoted as saying “the present National Assembly will make decisions based on national interest and will always act in the interest the people.
“That is why in spite of the fact that members belong to different parties, when national issues come to the floor, we forget about party affiliations and act as Nigerians elected to protect the interest of Nigeria.
“A visit to the Presidency by the Senate President is a normal thing because we need to consult, discuss, exchange ideas and make suggestions to each other from time to time.
“More importantly, at this time, when the nation is facing economic crisis, there is need for frequent engagements by the Presidency and the National Assembly.’’
The statement added that “Saraki, nonetheless, urged politicians to stop playing to the gallery or drawing political capital from all issues.
“Similarly, the media should exercise restraint in their reportage and commentaries in order to properly serve our people.”
The Senate had initially thrown out the foreign loan request, saying necessary documents on repayment, loan sources and so on where not attached. The presidency has pledged to attach relevant information and resubmit the loan request, which if approved, will be Nigeria’s largest even loan.